As a diabetic myself (and someone who has been seriously ill with diabetes for most of my life), I want to share some personal insights on the process of becoming (or staying) a diabetic.
First, it’s essential to understand that we are not only “diabetics”; we are people in general. Unfortunately, most people don’t know much about diabetes at all (which is why we need information). So here, I hope to share some of my insights on our disease and its treatment.
A Diabetic’s Life
The Diabetic Life is a visual textbook on how a person with diabetes goes about life. The book itself is pretty simple, and it does not require much technical knowledge. However, some background knowledge about the subject matter is helpful.
Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to produce insulin (a hormone) while other systems of the body are involved in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.Insulin is a common medication used to maintain blood glucose levels. However, Insulin is quite expensive in the United States (I suggest buying online from Canada) and many diabetics do their best to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to avoid the financial burden.
For most people with diabetes, this happens earlier than for non-diabetics, and the symptoms tend to be milder. However, for many people with diabetes, their condition can become more severe and harder to control.
The main differences between people with type 1 diabetes and those without are:
- Type 1 diabetes occurs when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin (or stops producing it altogether).
- Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas can produce insulin but can’t use it properly (often because of resistance).
- Type 1 diabetes often occurs due to autoimmune disease or damage to microscopic blood vessels around the pancreas (called microvascular complications).
- Type 2 diabetes usually has issues with obesity or high blood pressure.
Understanding these differences helps you with the following tasks:
- Regaining control over your life and being able to live without medications
- Identifying potential problems in your life so you can keep an eye on them
- Knowing what insurance companies cover and what they don’t cover (in case you need help or advice about these things)
It’s no secret that diabetes is a complex disease. You can’t just look at the “diabetes numbers” and assume that you are doomed to a life of insulin injections once you’re diagnosed. Even the most successful diabetics have an easier time managing their disease than the least successful; it is not a one-size-fits-all situation.
So, what does this all mean for us? Well, it means we need to help people like us: people who want to live healthy lives but who do not have the money, access, or resources necessary to make this dream come true on their own.
By offering products and services which simplify everyday activities while making them healthier in subtle but important ways. One such example might be taking your health into your own hands with a customized diet. Or there might be leisure activities like running a marathon or climbing Mount Everest – something everyone can enjoy. If doing these kinds of things keeps you healthier and makes your life more fulfilling, it will make it easier for you and those around you.
This isn’t about charity or self-sacrifice – there’s nothing wrong with giving back, as long as it has positive consequences for other people (no matter how small). It should also be pointed out that this kind of thing should also be priced in such a way so as not to feel like a burden on the consumer; we need someone willing to pay enough money for something they want and need, but don’t feel like they need. So if someone says, “I don’t use gym equipment because I don’t want to take up space in the gym locker rooms! This is why I buy my running shoes from Amazon!” then we need to do our best not only not to embarrass them by telling them they are wrong or stupid, but also give them something valuable in return (i.e., easy access to exercise equipment) which they can do at home on their terms without feeling guilty or embarrassed about it (or going out of their way).
(No, you aren’t going to learn how to deal with diabetes. That’s the whole point here.)
The above is the first in a series of posts that explain how a person with diabetes goes about their life. It’s not just a list of things they do; it’s an attempt to document what they do in detail – where they need to be and when they need to be there. It’s also an attempt to embody the so-called “real-world experience of diabetes,” i.e., something that happens in real life and not just the realm of science fiction or fantasy (i.e., no robots).
In these posts, I have tried not just to document the exercise routine for diabetics – but also capture what we can feel about people who have diabetes, using real examples from our own lives. I have tried not just to document what we talk about, but also what we don’t talk about, drawing on my own experiences as someone who has had diabetes for many years now: that is, I have tried not just to capture what we say about ourselves and our lives but also capture how we say it, who says it and why it is essential that we say it. This post is an attempt at capturing two things: the general meaning of insulin users’ speech (in this case: “I’m a diabetic” or “I am a diabetic,” etc.) and then trying to capture some more specific examples on various subjects (such as weight loss and cycling).
As I tell you all this directly from my own experience with diabetes, you might think that this only explains things in my own life. Still, I think readers will find both accounts quite useful regardless of their own stories or experiences with diabetes.
Diabetes Treatment Methods
Like many things in this life, success in the diabetes treatment world is not a smooth and easy process. It can be an arduous one. Some people are lucky enough to have a treatable disease and manageable by standard medical means — even if they don’t see their symptoms as an immediate life-threatening concern. Others, however, have to deal with the complications of diabetes, such as insulin dependency and other metabolic issues.
Recently, diabetics are trying new forms (beside insulin and medication) to help with their diabetes. Many diabetics are testing their luck with insulin plants. The insulin plant (also known as costusigneusnak) is related to plants in the ginger family and has shown evidence of possibly helping treat diabetes.
And then some have more severe conditions such as Type 1 diabetes which is characterized by unpredictable fluctuations in blood sugar levels that can lead to seizures, coma, or even death.
Here are some quick tips on how to better manage your diabetes:
- Put down the sugar
- Smooth out your blood sugar
- Eat meals (even if they’re just snacks) and avoid fasts
- Keep track of all medications you take
- Take care of yourself
People with diabetes face several challenges. You need to speak to your doctor, physician, healthcare professional, or diabetes educator about what kind of diabetes management is suitable for you. Try to figure out how your life will change without blood sugar control.
An excellent way to think about this is like this — take an average person who lives in San Francisco and takes four insulin shots per day (at the end of a long workday) and then subtract half from the average person’s weight by the same amount per day (weighing them every morning). This gives us an estimate of how a typical diabetic would weigh.
If we would go back in time and tell people that their weight would be half as much as it was before diabetes treatment started, we would expect that people with Type 2 diabetes would lose up to 10 pounds in eight weeks — but keep in mind that this is based on just one person’s experience with insulin compared with many more people who could benefit from better management than ever before. So while 10 pounds doesn’t seem like much, it really can make quite a difference when trying to move around or cook meals.
There are many things around your house where these kinds of estimates can help guide decisions: What types of food should I cook? Will my diet change any with eating out more often? What lifestyle changes should I make? Will eating out make my life better or worse? Do I need help cooking healthier meals? Do I need help making more nutritious meals?
And this isn’t restricted to functional foods — we also want information on things like exercise, nutrition, smoking cessation, or body image so we can make choices based on those factors instead of just our weight change alone.
The only problem is that these programs don’t address all aspects of diabetes management — for example, whether or not someone should be tested regularly for other health conditions.